On a quest to get my hands on the perfect corset in India (the dearth of racy lingerie options in offline stores is disappointing, to say the least), I found myself in a world of Instagram thrift stores. Admittedly, I was apprehensive at first, but the deeper I dove in, the more pro-thrifting I became.
Thrifting is still a relatively new concept in India, but hopefully one that’s here to stay. Thrift stores sell pre-loved clothes that are gently used, and often in mint condition. So, get rid of the notion that they’re hubs of mothball-ridden, tattered clothes people want to throw away. In fact, they’re the opposite, and a great way to add ‘new’ one-of-a-kind pieces to your wardrobe without breaking the bank.
What a find!
“Every piece is washed by the vendor before it is sent to me,” says Riya Rokade, founder, Vintage Laundry. “Once I get it, I sanitise it, and perform thorough quality checks.” Since you’re likely to come across vintage gems and high-end brands like Burberry, Armani, Dior or BCBG, shopping at thrift stores also keeps your soirée outfits from looking run-of-the-mill.
Thrift store owners often go beyond borders to source these garments. Shruti and Palak Mittal, founders, Thrift By Delhi, aren’t limited by geography. “We source from different states, and sometimes even different countries.”
So, buyers don’t need to stay content with the limited collections India usually gets.
How is thrifting good for the planet? Well, the same clothes stay in circulation longer, thereby reducing the volume of clothes being manufactured. This, in turn, reduces air and water pollution (a common side-effect of mass-producing clothes) and leads to lesser landfills, as the clothes find new owners instead of being thrown out.
This is not to say there are no cons. Unfortunately, some people misrepresent the condition of their clothes in photos, and don’t offer refunds. Then, there’s the size inclusivity issue. Most cater largely to the petite crowd; you will come across larger sizes, but not frequently. Also, there are very few options for men (if at all). So, you must find stores you can trust; once you start, you’ll learn to judge for yourself. There’s also a lot of cross promoting going on, so if you find one store you like, you’ll be led to multiple others.
Navni is a freelance journalist who has been writing about all things lifestyle for close to 10 years.
Try Guy is an occasional column where we put a reader through an experience, and ask them to write about it.
From HT Brunch, November 21, 2021
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